Coronavirus: Here’s what Ohio officials are saying about the stimulus package

The Senate has passed a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition, moving closer to a milestone political victory for President Joe Biden.

The $1.9 trillion bill approved Saturday carries direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits and spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing. It also provides billions to states and cities, schools and ailing industries.

Here’s what elected officials are saying about the stimulus package:

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati

Good economic news combined with the good-faith bipartisan efforts that nine of my Republican colleagues and I undertook to craft a responsible alternative to this partisan bill leave me deeply disappointed about the process that brought us to this final outcome. This is not what is best for our country and it did not have to be this way.

When President Biden spoke of unity during his inaugural address, my Republican colleagues and I took his message to heart and crafted a responsible, targeted COVID-19 stimulus package like we had done five times previously to address the crisis and ensure that taxpayer money was used effectively. We targeted funding toward meeting the health care and economic needs of the American people, rather than to unnecessary spending and programs entirely unrelated to COVID-19. However, our proposal was rejected time and time again.

We worked together five times on bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages and we should have been able to do so again. Doing so can begin to fulfill the promise our new president set out on inauguration day.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland

The American Rescue Plan will help us deliver on the hope that Americans voted for. Democrats promised shots in arms, money in families’ pockets, children in schools, workers in jobs, and a roof over families’ heads. We’re following through on that promise.

This relief package will do more to keep people from losing their homes than this country ever has.

We are investing in rental and utility assistance, homeowner assistance, emergency housing vouchers, and homelessness assistance.

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